Formation of library networks in counties and districts in the 50’s. Part 3
TÓTH Gyula

The last part of the study summarises the problems of organising networks. It was a major flaw in this respect that county and district libraries became detached from their natural maintaining bodies, i.e., from local municipalities and cities. It became soon clear that, as a result of different local conditions and different development history, too excessive differences developed between the individual libraries, although the model wanted to achieve their unification. By the sixties, the network of libraries at housing estates has been built out and the range of district libraries became complete. However, due to the repeated reorganization of public administration, a reverse process began: where the districts had ceased the central district libraries were transformed into city or village libraries, and in 1958, all the village libraries were given over to the ownership of local councils. The plan to build cultural activities in villages around libraries did not meet the expectations, and a solution had to be found to clarify the functions of district libraries and to eliminate their operation problems.
The author acknowledges the merits of the system established, but notes that the county-district library network had not been sufficiently grounded theoretically, and it was implemented in a too short time without the necessary financial, material and human resources. It became the task of the next decade to correct defects.

Reading habits and library use of prisoners in Hungary

The Hungarian Library Institute performed in April 2012 a questionnaire survey in co-operation with the National Headquarters of Prison Service (BVOP) about the reading and library use habits of prisoners. For the sake of comparison, the questions of a previous survey were updated. From the 600 questionnaires sent out 557 were returned, the sample represents 4.5% of all prisoners. Although the study is not representative (in the sample there were more male than female inmates; and those with a higher educational attainment were overrepresented among the respondents etc.), the findings indicate that many of the prisoners read regularly (first of all newspapers and magazines) and are happy to use the services of the prison library. The author recommends to develop prison libraries, e.g., to employ professional librarians, to extend opening hours, to enhance the offer (with additional journals and magazines, books to study languages, computer facilities etc.). Reading is part of the re-integration of prisoners into society, and the assistance of prison libraries is essential for equal chances and alignment in prisons.

Who grants the…? Status report on peer review

The most important indicators of the quality of professional journals are the impact factor and the peer review process. Peer review can be considered as an added value in the communication process. Having summarised the history of peer review and described the review process, its participants and types, the author discusses the current practice of peer review in today‘s world of science. She states that a peer review achieves its goal if it is fast, effective, impartial and encourages professional dialogue. The examples selected from the area of medical biology illustrate the role of the peer review and the importance of professional scrutiny and assessment prior to publishing. In the literature, views vary on the impact of peer review. Some doubt it; some blame the paradigm shift in scientific communication with the advent of the World Wide Web, i.e., the immediate and uncontrolled access to freely available publications. On the whole, it is the common interest of authors, research journals and professional communities to publish as reliable and high-standard communications as possible.


Resource Description and Access. The new cataloguing rules and their criticism

RDA (Resource Description and Access) is the new cataloguing standard replacing the 2nd edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) that has been essentially designed for a digital environment, and which has wider application possibilities than its predecessor. The author first summarises the theoretical background and innovative features of RDA, then provides an evaluation with a view to the MARC21 bibliographic exchange format. This article is the third part of a series dealing with critical observations regarding RDA. It describes the reception of RDA outside the Anglo-Saxon world, the current developments and future directions.

IFLA Statement on Legal Deposit
Hungarian translation of the statement (Translated by Lajos Murányi)

Some considerations on legal deposit
DANCS Szabolcs

The debate in Hungary between publishers and librarians about the legal deposit of electronic publications has recently intensified. The translation of the relevant IFLA Statement assists the interpretation of related concepts. The author considers that it is the aim of legal deposit to guarantee the long-term preservation of the national imprint, without hurting the interests of the market. This is facilitated by introducing “preservation” as a key concept; while the focus on the act of “depositing” indicates that supporting library acquisitions should be guaranteed in another systematic way.


Máté Kovács and the Hungarian Encyclopaedia

In 1953, a government decision was issued in Hungary to publish Magyar Enciklopédia (Hungarian Encyclopaedia, further abbreviated as HE) managed by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, with Máté Kovács appointed as chief editor. It was the goal of this work to create an up-to-date scientific synthesis relying on the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia as its model; however, HE with its 140,000 articles would have been an individual intellectual venture. HE was planned to appear in the period 1959 through 1966, in 24 volumes, on a thousand pages per volume. Government ideas on HE have changed several times; there were disputes whether the entire encyclopaedia should be published first, and then, based on its material a variety of other dictionaries and encyclopaedias, such as the Kis Magyar Lexikon (Small Hungarian Lexicon) and the lexicons of various disciplines should be prepared. In 1956, the government decided that as first the Small Hungarian Lexicon should be published: this decision resulted in delaying work on HE. The editorial board headed by Máté Kovács has made efforts to adapt to the constantly changing conditions, but the difficulties of this pioneering work and the lack of financial resources have made the work harder and disorganised. Máté Kovács was the head of the editorial board till 1958. The concept he has developed has never been implemented, nevertheless, his merits in laying the foundations of publishing modern lexicons in Hungary are substantial. Indirectly he played a role in publishing Volume 6 of the Új Magyar Lexikon (New Hungarian Lexicon) and several specialised lexicons in the sixties.

Máté Kovács and the Association of Hungarian Librarians

Máté Kovács’ (1906-1972) extensive work in the period when he acted as Vice-President of the Association of Hungarian Librarians (MKE) is practically unexplored in literature. This paper is a short overview of his relationship with the association and its predecessor, the Librarians’ Szabó Ervin Circle, based on archival documents. Máté Kovács was engaged in reading and books, organised lectures on the history of libraries and other activities in the second half of the fifties as a member of the Szabó Ervin Circle. After MKE’s re-foundation in 1965, as head of the university‘s library department, he took part in defining the association‘s intellectual and practical work (e.g. in elaborating its statute). His papers read at the MKE annual general meetings about the situation and development of library education, the career of librarians and development of a national information system are still preserved in professional memory.

About the past and present of local history. A tribute to Miklós Bényei on his 70th birthday
KÉGLI Ferenc

In Miklós Bényei’s oeuvre as a librarian, teacher and researcher local knowledge work represents an essential part. His bibliographies, textbooks and studies present all that is worth knowing about the topic. In one of his important publications, in an article he summarised the history of local knowledge work in Hungary. The author of this tribute reflects on Bényei’s publication and reconsiders the historical periods as follows: About the distant past (from the 1900’s to World War II); About beginning anew (post-1945 years); About the boom of local history activities (from the sixties until today); About the future.


Bestsellers in Nazi Germany
Adam, Christian: Lesen unter Hitler. Autoren, Bestseller, Leser im Dritten Reich. Berlin, 2010.
Reviewed by Péter Sonnevend

100 years of Debrecen University
A Debreceni Egyetem története 1902-2012. Főszerk. Orosz István. Debrecen, 2012.
Reviewed by Miklós Bényei

Festschrift for Erzsébet Nemes
Az olvasás pártfogója: írások Nemes Erzsébet tiszteletére. Szerk.: Fülöp Ágnes et al. Bp. 2012.
Reviewed by Lajos Murányi